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What I Read Online – 04/11/2013 (a.m.)

11 Apr
    • Wheaton College media ecologist Read Schuchardt is concerned about the implicit messages that dating sites send, especially those like eHarmony that claim to find your “ideal match.” These sites feed the illusion, Schuchardt said, “that the perfect one is ‘out there’ and all you have to do is find them through this fine-toothed comb called online dating. The reality is just the opposite — no matter who you find, it will take a lifetime of sacrifice and accommodation to learn how to tolerate living with the other while they attempt to learn how to tolerate living with you.”
    • If we listen to the dire predictions made by those who ignore the negative feedback mechanisms that clearly exist in earth’s design, we are likely to kill a lot of people for no good reason.

         

    • Unconverted people leave because the gospel is being preached
    • Therefore, dear brothers and fellow pastors, press on.  You may be the cause of the decline and if that is the case, you need to take a good hard look at yourself before God and ask for those blind spots to be revealed.  However, in many cases, imperfect pastors, especially those new to their congregations, are still bearing too much of the responsibility of the decline.  Sometimes God takes us through ups and downs and there is so much more to evaluate on a church’s health than whether your numbers are “higher” this year than last.
    • The reality is that regardless of the reason for their depression (and we often can’t determine this absolutely) the person needs help
    • First, we need to be compassionate regardless of the reason (or reasons!) for their depression
    • Second, we need to recognize that man’s various parts (physical, spiritual, emotional) cannot be compartmentalized but must be considered as one whole person.  Therefore, I always recommend someone who suffers from depression to make an appointment with their family physician
    • Thirdly, when there is stability continue to show pastoral concern and give appropriate counsel in a kind gentle manner.  Often the promises of scripture are most helpful in this regard rather than the exhortations
    • In conclusion I’d say that the fact of the matter is that some depression can be mainly physiologically (although perhaps include sinful responses) since depression very clearly runs in families who members live in different settings.  Therefore, to deny a link to physical causes in all cases is absolute nonsense in my view.  However, to make the argument that depression is always physiological is equally nonsense.  I have frequently dealt with people whose sinful circumstances or responses to their circumstances have led to depression
    • First, we should preach expositionally, that is, through entire books of the Pentateuch, chapter by chapter, verse by verse
    • Second, we should preach “plainly.”
    • To preach the Pentateuch plainly means to preach the application and use of the text. We need to tell our people the “what” of the passage as well as the “so what?”
    • In saying this, let me add that you are not merely to preach about Christ, but you are to preach Christ as His voice to your congregation. You want people to hear His living voice near them in your voice and not merely as a distant echo. I do this by preaching with passion and urgency, and by speaking often in the first person.
    • Perhaps . . . [the Western church] has drunk so deeply at the well of modern Western materialism that it simply does not know what to do with such cries and regards them as little short of embarrassing.

       

      A diet of unremittingly jolly choruses and hymns inevitably creates an unrealistic horizon of expectation which sees the normative Christian life as one long triumphalist street party—a theologically incorrect and a pastorally disastrous scenario in a world of broken individuals.

       

      Has an unconscious belief that Christianity is—or at least should be—all about health, wealth, and happiness corrupted the content of our worship?

       

      . . . In the psalms, God has given the church a language which allows it to express even the deepest agonies of the human soul in the context of worship.

       

      Does our contemporary language of worship reflect the horizon of the expectation regarding the believer’s experience which the psalter proposes as normative?

       

      If not, why not?

       

      Is it because the comfortable values of Western middle-class consumerism have silently infiltrated the church and made us consider such cries irrelevant, embarrassing, and signs of abject failure?

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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Posted by on 11/04/2013 in Current Issues

 

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